This is the third generation of JBL’s successful Flip wireless speaker. There is little wonder why JBL has stuck with the Flip, and why it’s such a popular model. Small, lightweight, well made, and with great sound quality, it is one of the best wireless speakers on the market.
Add to that a bunch of useful features, wide compatibility, and solid performance for both indoor and outdoor use. Has JBL continued with this winning formula with the Flip 3, and what improvements have been made?
So, let’s take a look in our in-depth JBL Flip 3 Review to answer those questions and more…
To start with, there is a huge range of colors to choose from when purchasing the Flip 3. Choose from plain colors like black, blue, or red. There are also some bright colors like yellow or orange. Or, if you prefer, go with one of the gray, pink, or teal pastels.
The unit only weighs 15.9 ounces (450 grams). This means it is one of the best lightweight wireless speakers around. Likewise, it can be either stood up on its end or laid down flat. On each end of the speaker is a mini subwoofer, so we prefer laying flat to prevent it from being covered. Up to you which way you “flip” it.
Looking at the Flip, it is a cylinder coated mostly in a fabric mesh material that feels durable and strong. At each end, like around the rim of a can of soft drink, is a durable rubber-type material for protecting the subwoofers.
Breaking up the mesh, the rubber material continues to join each end with a strip along the side. This is where you’ll find five small LED indicators for battery life, a power button, a JBL Connect+ button, and a grommet for the strap.
Connection and control…
Hidden away behind a rubber flap are the ports for connecting the USB cable, along with a 3.5 mm audio jack. Running parallel to the rubber strip within the mesh is where you’ll discover the device controls.
The phone-shaped button is multifunctional. It can be used to answer and end calls, while also doubling up as the play/pause button. Also, there are volume up and down controls, as well as a Bluetooth button.
Connectivity between the speaker and your source device can be completed in one of two ways. Either using Bluetooth 4.1 for a stable wireless connection from up to 33 feet (10 meters) away or with a 3.5 mm auxiliary cable for a wired connection. As a result, this is one of the best portable Bluetooth speakers available.
If your smartphone is connected via Bluetooth, the in-built microphone allows for hands-free phone calls. When talking to people using the speaker as a speakerphone, the quality is very good, and most people won’t even know you’re not speaking through your phone.
Making a splash…
What makes this wireless speaker great outdoors is its IPX7 certified water and dust resistance. No matter whether it is rain, hail, or shine, and even out on the beaten track, this speaker is up to the task. No doubt this is one of the best outdoor travel speakers you can find.
One of the newer features is Voice Assistant Integration. Compatible with both Apple’s Siri and Android’s Google Assistant, control your device with only your voice. Make commands such as “skip track” or “increase volume.”
Using JBL Connect+ allows you to connect multiple JBL speakers. You can either create a multi-room experience or enhance the sound at a party by giving it an extra boost. Connect up to 100 speakers together simultaneously.
Controlling your connected speakers is all controlled using a well-designed, easy to use App called JBL Connect. It can be downloaded for free from both the App Store on iOS and the PlayStore on Android.
Keep the party going…
Charging the speaker is done using the included bright-orange Micro-USB cable. The in-built battery is a lithium-ion 3,000 mHa pack that gives around 12 hours of playback time. A full charge will take approximately one and a half to two hours.
Having a small subwoofer on each end of the speaker is not just for show, even though it looks cool vibrating to the beat. They certainly pack an extra punch when it comes to low-down driving bass in your tracks.
Using JBL Connect+ to join a few of these together sounds incredible, but it’s not at all essential by any means. The speaker still sounds great on its own and is plenty loud for its reasonably compact size.
The original Flip had 2 x 5 watts, and the Flip 2 was increased to 2 x 6 watts. The Flip 3 has had an additional increase to 2 x 8 watts, and there is a noticeable difference. While there is no real noticeable increase in volume, higher levels are less distorted than previously.
The recommended maximum wireless connection distance is 33 feet (10 meters). We found the best performance was between 3 and 12 feet (1 and 3 meters) before noticing and quality or connection issues.
The optimal listening volume is at around 75% for most tracks. This, of course, depends on the style of music and the instruments used. Like most wireless portable speakers, there is noticeable distortion if played at full volume.
Advantage of stereo…
One thing to keep in mind with this speaker is that it is set up to provide full stereo sound. Many cheaper speakers only offer mono, and there is a huge difference. The sound is rich, loud, and powerful. So, it’s one of the best sounding portable speakers on the market.
The Flip 3 performs particularly well around the mids and highs. If you really want to try and push out that extra bit of volume, try using the JBL Connect App and lowering the bass level through the EQ settings.
JBL Flip 3 Review – Pros and Cons
- Tough and rugged design that can take some drops and bumps.
- IPX7 water and dust resistance mean it can go anywhere.
- Bluetooth 4.1 or 3.5 mm auxiliary connection options.
- JBL Connect+ allows for linking multiple speakers together.
- Mini subwoofers at each end provide driving bass.
- Full stereo sound offers rich, loud, and powerful audio.
- Distorts when played at high volume levels.
- Battery life is not that great compared to some other products.
- The cylindrical shape means it can potentially roll away.
- Mesh fabric can be difficult to clean after spills.
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JBL Flip 3 Review – Final Thoughts
With the increase in power over the previous model, plus a more stable, battery-saving Bluetooth 4.1, there are noticeable improvements. And for JBL to keep the same price, this makes the speaker even more appealing.
We were impressed overall with the sound quality, which we’ve come to expect from the Flip series. What we would have liked to see, though, is a bigger improvement to the battery performance for camping trips and outdoor adventures.
While most portable wireless speakers offer similar performance, some are better than others. And the JBL Flip 3 is one of the best.
So, until next time, happy listening.